A very eventful month
My work is far from boring at the best of times, but October took the biscuit in terms of diversity and spontaneity. In late September I was asked if I’d be willing to take on ‘a small project’. I’m always open to doing something new, so I said yes immediately. The ‘small project’ turned out to entail organising one day of day care for the children of ING employees, because a primary-school teachers’ strike meant that many schools would be closed for a day. The strike was planned for 5 October, which gave us just one and a half weeks to organise everything... It was a mad scramble, but we pulled it off! That success was all thanks to the extremely hard work of the motivated, multidisciplinary team – a real ‘pop-up squad’. We pushed all our other work aside and worked throughout the weekend, and before we knew it we’d arranged a full day of kids’ amusement at six different locations. The children’s ages ranged from 4 to 12, so we organised a wide variety of activities including a circus workshop, arts and crafts, a VR car-racing simulator, watching movies and making music with a DJ. It turned out to be the ideal solution for many parents; we looked after 500 children altogether and received lots of positive feedback from ING colleagues – it was so rewarding! Afterwards I sent an overview of all the reactions we received to everyone involved, because it’s important to share the successes, don’t you agree? It was an ultimate example of agile working, and one with a very short sprint in fact! I must admit that I was a little nervous when the e-mail about the project was sent to around 17,000 colleagues with my name at the bottom. And things became even more tense when we’d received 200 registrations for a single location by the very next morning, when we still had no clear idea of what we were actually going to do.
I’d hardly had chance to recover from organising that day before I left for the Race of the Classics, a corporate sailing event from Rotterdam to England, on 10 October. Besides ING, it involves companies such as Shell, Heineken, Philips and NS. Although ING is a sponsor, as a partipcant you pay the fee yourself and have to take time off for it. You sail in teams of 12 per boat, plus a captain and two crew members. Sailing experience isn’t essential but you are expected to pull your weight on board, under the captain’s guidance, because it’s a proper race. It was a very windy day, so unfortunately we weren’t able to follow the classic route. Instead, we ended up sailing along the Dutch coastline for five days, from one port to another. It was really hard work but a terrific experience.
ING’s involvement in the Race of the Classics is organised by RING, the network for young employees. I have a lot of contact with that network in my day-to-day work now too, because I recently became responsible for diversity on behalf of HR. We have several different diversity networks, including Lioness for women, RING for the under-35s, GALA for LGTB colleagues and ING Crossing which supports cultural diversity. When I was asked whether I’d like to become involved in this area I said yes straightaway, because I think we can do a lot more than we already do. Moreover, diversity overlaps nicely with talent management, which is my other domain. There’s a whole range of things to take care of, both at strategic and operational level. Working on diversity brings me into contact with all kinds of new people, which is great fun. I’m in charge of the budget for this focus area and my involvement spans all levels. For example, my first task was to give a presentation for ING’s top management. And I’d only taken on responsibility for diversity a week earlier… Thankfully the presentation went well, and the board members came up with all kinds of new ideas that I can set to work on over the coming months.
After such a hectic – but fantastic! – month it’s nice to now be able to concentrate on my regular work again, but even that demands careful time management. Normally I say yes to a project if it meets two criteria: Does it sound fun, and will I learn something from it? I should add a third one: Do I have time for it? But that often slips my mind – a little naive, perhaps, but I’m getting better. And as long as I still enjoy my work so much, you won’t hear any complaints from me!
Inge has a bachelor degree in sociology and a master in business administration with a specialisation in HR. She was an intern at ING in HR for the Netherlands from February to August 2016. Before starting her internship, she actually applied for the Retail Banking traineeship following her participation in the ING Bootcamp. But at around the same time she heard that she’d got an intern placement in HR so she chose the HR placement, because that’s where her heart lies. ING concretised its plans for the HR traineeship while Inge was still an intern, and suddenly everything fell into place for her. On 3 October 2016, she became part of the first intake on the HR track along with four other trainees. Inge is from the province of Brabant but now lives in Amsterdam. In her spare time, she is an avid collector of books – and she tries to read them all too.